The machining of large raw parts requires a machine tuning procedure which is both lengthy and highly difficult, calling for the use of complex technologies which make the manufacturing process more expensive and lengthen equipment downtimes.

This preparatory phase for parts, which occasionally takes more time than the machining itself, implies measuring and calculating the fit of the part in order to confirm that it includes enough surplus material along all of the surfaces which are to be machined and, subsequently, to guarantee that it will be possible to achieve the end result. After these two stages, a third operation takes place which involves the alignment of the part in the machine.

With the aim of optimising this very process, the machine tool manufacturer SORALUCE relies on the VSET system, based on 3D photogrammetry vision technology which, by means of its VSET Measuring and VSET Fitting modules, guarantees that the measuring and fitting phases are completed in a fast and safe way. These two stages are executed outside the machine, increasing machine availability and productivity thanks to transferring set-up times in measurements, adjustments and corrections to an environment outside the machine.

In order to carry out the whole process with the greatest agility possible, the company has developed and incorporated a third module into this solution which constitutes an alignment system, allowing the machining of raw parts to be perfected, meeting speed, ease and precision parameters.

This third model, called VSET ALIGNMENT, complements the processes carried out by VSET Measuring and VSET Fitting, as it allows the measurement and fitting results obtained during these stages to be automatically included in the numerical control of the machining centre itself in order to subsequently proceed with alignment in the equipment.

Specifically, the new software, developed by the SORALUCE Design and Precision Engineering experts, uses calculation algorithms to implement an automated and guided alignment process. This results in the overall time spent on the whole process being reduced by up to 70%. The system is capable of precision of up to 0.05 mm + 0.02 mm/m.

Photogrammetric technology

The overall preparation process prior to machining which is carried out by the VSET system begins with the calculation of the surplus material in order to define the optimum alignment of the raw part. The VSET Measuring module uses photogrammetric technology to measure the part using several optical reference points or markers located in different areas surrounding it. Once this process is complete, the Fitting system automatically compares the information obtained with the final geometry of the 3D model of the part in order to carry out an optimum calculation of the local reference points. The report generated by this second model is sent to the machine so that the new VSET Alignment, installed in the controller of the machine itself, can implement an alignment of the part in accordance with the predetermined coordinate system.

A solution to optimise the process

The incorporation of this new module offers an effective solution in order to reduce the time spent on the aligning, fitting and measuring processes of raw parts and increases machine availability given that measuring and fitting are completed by external modules. The modular VSET system ensures the quality of parts from previous processes such as casting, shaping and welding; it increases the machine’s productivity and standardises machine alignment procedures without the need for specialised profiles.

Ultimately, the VSET system by SORALUCE is the solution for optimising preparations prior to machining processes and puts SORALUCE at the cutting-edge of industrial innovation.

This new development will be presented during the TECHNOLOGY DAYS seminars, an event which will take place from the 12th to the 16th of November at BIMATEC SORALUCE, the Basque manufacturer’s Centre of Excellence in the German city of Limburg.